Dream comes true for Northumberland brewery boss with opening of new tap room and beer garden
A new brewery tap room with beer garden has opened in north Northumberland.
It is the latest initiative from the Alnwick Brewery Company based on the Hawkhill Business Park, just outside Lesbury.
Its traditional income stream has been cut off by the closure of pubs and restaurants for large parts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although the hospitality sector has now reopened – for outdoor trade at least – the new venture gives the small team a dedicated venue in which to promote and sell its products.
Phil Bell, brewery manager, explained: “The initiative came off the back of the lockdown.
"I’ve been here 10 years and this was my dream when I first set up the brewery.
"The pandemic finally gave me the chance to put those plans in place and now we’re just hoping for the best – and some sunshine!”
He continued: “We always wanted a visitor centre where people could find out more about what we do but at the same time we don’t want to be in competition with our customers. Hopefully the tap room is that bit different that it will also work.
"The scenery from the beer garden is fantastic,” added Phil. The view of Hawkhill was something we really wanted to make use of.”
Frank Lyford, one of the first customers to enjoy the beer garden after reopening, said: “It’s excellent – and it’s one of the best pints I’ve ever had.”
During the first lockdown, the brewery gave away 5,000 pints of beer that it had been unable to sell in pubs and restaurants.
It led to queues of thirsty punters forming outside Taste of Northumbria on Market Place and collecting from its base.
"We’ve tried to manage production as best we can by judging when lockdowns were going to come around but we’ve still had to pour away quite a lot,” said Phil. “Over the last 12 months we must have thrown away the best part of 100 casks.”
Its core range of beers include the popular Alnwick Amber, Gold and IPA, as well as the Lindisfarne Brown and Holy Island Bitter made for its sister company, Lindisfarne Ltd.
The tap room and beer garden is open 11am to 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am to 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.